If you watch any Australian soap opera, you would be forgiven for thinking that neighbours are so close that wandering into each other’s houses without knocking is perfectly acceptable. Of course anyone who has spent any time there will tell you that this is an exaggeration, but it’s true that in Australia is doesn’t take long before ‘good neighbours become good friends.’ That’s why whenever I return to Australia; I prefer holiday rentals to the more impersonal hotel experience.
Like many of the locals, when I lived in Melbourne I spent many a holiday along the Great Ocean Road. On Melbourne’s doorstep the Great Ocean Road has some of the best scenery (and beaches) in Australia. Dotted with plenty of fun holiday towns on the beach like Lorne, Apollo Bay and Anglesea, it is no surprise that family breaks along the Great Ocean Road are hugely popular with Melbournians. Many families own holiday homes along the coast and return time and time again, which creates a real sense of community which is great to be a part of.
One of my favourite places along the 150 mile stretch of coast is the tiny settlement of Fairhaven. Located between Anglesea and Lorne, even regular visitors to the Great Ocean Road could be forgiven for missing Fairhaven. The town itself is so small you pass it in a heartbeat. Ask anyone about the ‘Pole House’ though and they will know exactly what you mean. This villa on a gigantic pole towering over Fairhaven Beach is a well known landmark along the road.
The Pole House has to be seen to be believed, but if you are looking for something more than a novelty for your holiday, then the luxury villa of Neervana Haven (which is just around the corner) is my Fairhaven pick. A little further up the hill, it provides 180 degree views of the beach without the vertiginous feeling of trying to sleep on top of a stick!
Neervana Haven’s glass front gives the whole villa a light and airy feeling and the architecture is eye-catching. It is elegantly and luxuriantly furnished. The pool is sizeable and there is plenty of space on the surrounding decking to relax and enjoy your surroundings. Arguably these are all things that you would expect from a luxury villa but there are plenty of things you might not expect too.
The owners have filled Neervana with any luxury that their guests might desire during their stay, from fine champagne to cognac and cigars. You might also be surprised by the souvenirs of overseas travel that are sprinkled liberally throughout Neervana. A Tibetan antique tea set, Russian babushka dolls and a collection Indian pashminas among many others. Even better, if you can’t stand to leave them behind at the end of your stay, along with Neervana’s art collection, visitors can buy any piece that particularly catches their eye.
With so much to enjoy at Neervana Haven and at the beach, you might be tempted to spend your whole time there, living the Australian dream of barbecues with the neighbours and watching the sun go down over the beach with a couple of drinks. If you can drag yourself away though, the bright lights of Melbourne CBD are just an hour and a half away. What’s more, with the road hugging the coast most of the way to Melbourne it’s a pleasant drive!
As well as Neervana Haven, you can find many more stunning Melbourne holiday rentals with Flipkey.